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Will My Baby Wake My Preschooler If They Share a Room?

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Dear Heather,

Do you have any advice on when to move two kids into the same room? Eventually, I want my preschooler and baby to share a room, but do I wait until the baby is sleeping through the night? She's in our room now, and I feel like we'd all sleep better if we moved her. But she still wakes up a couple times a night.

Dear Crowded Sleepers,

Two little ones sharing a room: it's just so sweet. In my experience, the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. They get to keep each other company, hear each other's little sounds, eventually carry on conversations and whisper to each other before falling asleep. There's a really nice sense of connection in a shared bedroom. And, of course, many of us (including my family) don't have a choice, because there aren't enough bedrooms to go around.

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For the most part, babies and little kids learn to sleep through each other's nighttime sounds and wake-ups—they become like background noise. So, if you want to move your baby into your older child's room, that can work at any age. A baby and little kid can go to bed at the same time (around 7:30 p.m. works well), and they can follow the same bedtime routine, too. You can read books, chat or sing in the dark for a moment, say good night to each other and things in the room, kiss goodnight and pop both into crib or bed.

When the baby wakes in the night for a feeding, you could do that in the dark and put her back in bed (rather than leaving the room for the feeding). Use a very dim, warm nightlight if necessary.

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Most likely, even if there's some protesting or fussing involved in that process, your older child will sleep through it. If she doesn't, it would be good to explain during the day that the baby is still learning to sleep and may wake up and make some noises in the night, but our bodies still stay in bed until the sun comes up. Also, use white noise in the room—I like rain sounds or a fan on low.

Happy sleeping,


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Sleep expert Heather Turgeon, co-author of "The Happy Sleeper: The Science-Backed Guide to Helping Your Baby Get a Good Night's Sleep—Newborn to School Age," will fix your family's sleep problems in this space as she does in her Los Angeles-based sleep consultations. Turgeon's solutions are nonjudgmental, kind and—best of all—based on science.

No situation is too challenging. Leave your sleep problem in the comments. Let's all get a good night's sleep, finally.

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